Cactus and Succulents forum→Black Thumb trying to turn Green Thumb

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Name: Valerie Wood
Dallas, Texas (Zone 8a)
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MrsValerieWood
Aug 8, 2020 7:44 PM CST
My Agaves are flattening out and drooping and I'm loosing some leaves.

Am I over watering?
Am I under watering?
They are in 1/2 day sun.

We have a drip line that was watering 2x a week. Soil isn't dry but it also isn't really wet.

Here's the after:
Thumb of 2020-08-09/MrsValerieWood/34907c

Here's the before:


Thumb of 2020-08-09/MrsValerieWood/b290bf

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Aug 8, 2020 8:54 PM CST
Welcome!

Can you share where you live? What direction the garden faces? What kind of soil you have?

If the soil isn't dry, why are you watering?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hallow
Aug 9, 2020 9:38 AM CST
MrsValerieWood said:My Agaves are flattening out and drooping and I'm loosing some leaves.

Am I over watering?
Am I under watering?
They are in 1/2 day sun.

We have a drip line that was watering 2x a week. Soil isn't dry but it also isn't really wet.

Here's the after:
Thumb of 2020-08-09/MrsValerieWood/34907c

Here's the before:


Thumb of 2020-08-09/MrsValerieWood/b290bf



I noticed you have green grass. Strange observation but if you're environment gives you enough water to keep your grass green you don't need to water agaves at all. Especially if they only get a half day sun. They thrive in desert conditions. Hot dry sun little moisture poor soil. Looks like your environment gives you more than enough water.
Thumb of 2020-08-09/Hallow/3e413d

This is the kind of environment they thrive in just to give you an idea on how to care for them.
The best way to care for any plant is to know what type of environment it comes from and try to duplicate that environment as best as you can. For many desert plants sun is more important than water.
[Last edited by Hallow - Aug 9, 2020 10:05 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 9, 2020 10:56 AM CST
Maybe the lawn has a sprinkler system.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
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Baja_Costero
Aug 9, 2020 11:04 AM CST

Moderator

Yes, some people in SoCal have lawns, even though they get zero rain for the warmest 3-5 months out of the year. That's the power of irrigation.

In addition to Daisy's questions above, I am also wondering how hot it gets there during the summer.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 9, 2020 11:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hallow
Aug 9, 2020 11:08 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:Yes, some people in SoCal have lawns, even though they get zero rain for the warmest 3-5 months out of the year. That's the power of irrigation.

In addition to Daisy's questions above, I am also wondering how how it gets there during the summer.

Good point. Didn't think of it.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 9, 2020 3:44 PM CST
But, we still don't know where MrsWood lives. Or did I miss something...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Valerie Wood
Dallas, Texas (Zone 8a)
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MrsValerieWood
Aug 9, 2020 9:15 PM CST
Hello! Sorry, I'm still learning I didn't know region could be a factor. I wish I could just own turf. lol But I'm trying. : )

I live in North Texas. (North of Dallas to be more specific.) We live in a new community which means they dumped sandy dirt to build up our lot then spread a 4 inch layer of topsoil on everything.

The sand gave me the idea to get the Agave because I was already killing the (something that looked like a boxwood) plant.

I just ordered a moisture meter and it arrived today, thank you Amazon next day, it is off the charts moist. I guess I always thought it had to be like a bog to be considered "wet".

We have a sprinkler system for the grass and a drip-line for the flowerbeds. We can set up separate zones. We are also down hill and have two sewer drains on our property, because all of the water heads down to us.

Our lawn guy actually said we needed to be watering more than twice a week so we were about to bump that up.

It sounds like I should just turn off the flower beds and water by the hose...
Name: Valerie Wood
Dallas, Texas (Zone 8a)
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MrsValerieWood
Aug 9, 2020 9:19 PM CST
Also my house faces a true North.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Aug 9, 2020 9:46 PM CST

Moderator

That will present interesting challenges with respect to light, especially during the darker months, and it may affect their tolerance for winter water (given the way light drives evaporation) and cold temps (given the way light has a warming effect).

The plants in the pictures do not look particularly stressed or unhappy to me. They look a whole lot better than the agaves around here typically do at this time of year.

I am wondering whether the big plants in the back are too close to the house, especially given the way the exposure will cause them to grow extra large. I would think that sooner is better than later in terms of moving them. Those look like the usual blue americana which is an extra large plant at maturity. You can also just prune the leaves that come in touch with the house, but it ruins the symmetry. The plant between the two blue ones at the back will probably need to be moved out of that space at some point. Some thoughts here about americanas, if that's what you've got going on back there.

https://garden.org/thread/post...

I seriously doubt you would need to water your agaves more than once a week their first summer. They should not ideally be getting (much) water from the lawn irrigation. Once they are established, and during the cooler months, you can cut way back on the water. Their second summer they might need water every 2 weeks, or maybe less often, depending on the rain. You should water the bare minimum (maybe not at all) if you want to limit the growth of your agaves, once they are established.

A moisture meter is only really useful in a relative sense, not an absolute one. You can calibrate your meter to some other judge of soil moisture (like your finger inserted a couple of inches) and from there on out it will be consistent about that particular level of soil moisture, but everything else is kind of relative without a lot of repeated calibration. Find out when the soil feels "almost dry" with your finger and see what the meter says about that particular point, which is the one that tells you when to water.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 10, 2020 12:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Valerie Wood
Dallas, Texas (Zone 8a)
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MrsValerieWood
Aug 9, 2020 10:08 PM CST
We planned to build them their own little green houses in the winter.
I took their measurements but we didn't know they were going to spread out so much.
Is this still a good idea for the winter? I know they want to be kept warm.

They are blue americana. I just ready 12ft wide.... OMG!!! The lady at the nursery led us to believe those were the largest ones... I thought they were so expensive since we were buying full grown ones.... They were a beast to get in.

So stop watering them until they are dry and move them centered into the flowerbed.

We are going to have a busy weekend. Hilarious!
Name: Valerie Wood
Dallas, Texas (Zone 8a)
Image
MrsValerieWood
Aug 9, 2020 10:14 PM CST
I cant thank you all enough for your help this has been so educational. Thank you for taking the time to point us in the right direction. We're trying to keep up a nice yard now that we live on a corner lot.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
Aug 10, 2020 12:36 AM CST
Those are nice raised beds, but as people have pointed out there might be some problems with the winter scenario.

12 ft wide if they go floppy - which with northern exposure and lots of wet they will.

If those were dry they might take an 8a winter without too much protection, but you have at least one issue with keeping them dry - you rain water pipe drains into the bed. In the warm months that is no big deal, in the winter that means you will not be able to keep the soil dry and if the soil is not at least mostly dry no matter what kind of tents you build them it is not going to matter. Same for the Agave parryi they like it pretty dry to be able to withstand cold.

This gets worse if the lower leaves touch the soil - which is hard to judge given the top dressing.
It is what it is!

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